It is pretty obvious to all involved that the Hawks are over matched in this series. Mike Bibby has taken it on himself to put some life into it by first attacking the fans and calling them bandwagon jumpers and fair weather fans and last night, before the game, he increased his attack to include Perk, who had stuck up for the fans after Bibby's initial comments.
"I don't know where he all of a sudden got this tough streak from," Bibby said before the game. "His stat line was worse than mine. I haven't really seen him do much in his career. So until he does something or shows me something, I really don't think he should say anything."
well, Perk chose not to comment but did get the last word with 8 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes and, most importantly, another win for his team.
The Garden was filled with chants of "Rondo's better" as Rondo went about proving their point with 12 points on 6-11 shooting (not bad for a kid who can't shoot) to go with 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals with only 1 turnover. Bibby on the other hand had another 2-7 shooting night for 12 points, 3 rebounds and only 1 assist. I imagine that he is looking forward to getting away from Boston as the series now shifts to Atlanta.
Before the game, Kevin Garnett was presented with the Defensive Player of the Year award and in a gesture that has been typical of this team all season, he called his whole team out to stand with him on the court as he received it showing that the Celtics defense is a team effort. KG went on to produce another double double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks and he hit his first 3 pointer of the season. The Celtics bigs may want to put in for hazard pay, though. In the last game, KG pummeled Leon Powe as he lay on the floor after putting in a monster dunk and in this game, after a put back dunk and 1 by Perk, KG punched Perk in the chest and then, lifted him off the floor in a huge bear hug.
Atlanta's strategy from the beginning was to be more physical and just 2 minutes into the first quarter, Josh Smith fouled Paul Pierce hard, sending him to the floor and then landing on him. Pierce was slow to get up and clearly was hurting. Posey came in for Pierce who went to the locker room and the word was that he had a lower back strain. He did return to the game and afterwards said that he hoped to get some treatment and rest between games and should be ok. Hopefully he is right. Smith wasn't even called for the foul after the hard hit on Pierce. He finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steeals in 28 minutes. Posey responded to the call with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. He later was called for a flagrant 1 foul as he was going for the ball on Smith and that foul wasn't near as hard as the one Smith put on Pierce.
Ray Allen played the most minutes of the starting 5 with 36 and finished with 15 points (6-13), 2 rebounds, r assists and 1 steal. Sam Cassell once again gave the Celtics quality play with 10 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 1 steal in 11 minutes off the bench. The Celtics bench once again out played the Hawks bench with 28 points for the Celtics to 15 for the Hawks, mostly from Josh Childress.
The Celtics outplayed the Hawks in every facet of their 96-77 victory. The Celtics shot 42% while holding the Hawks to 38%. In the first game, the Celtics were out rebounded 41-40 and this game, the Celtics righted that by out rebounding the Hawks 45-35 in this game. The Celtics have done a good job of keeping their turnovers down with 12 in this game while forcing 21 from the Hawks. The Hawks got to the line 40 times compared to only 26 times for the Celtics. The Hawks missed 9 free throws while the Celtics missed 7. The Celtics outscored the Hawks in the paint 20-14. The series now shifts to Atlanta on Saturday and hopefully the Celtics will bring the same kind of intensity to put the series away in 4 games.